Tuesday, 12 February 2019

February 12, 2019

590 years ago

English forces under Sir John Fastolf defend a supply convoy carrying rations to the army besieging Orléans in the Battle of the Herrings.

330 years ago

Politics and government
The English Convention Parliament declared that the flight to France in 1688 by James II, the last Roman Catholic British monarch, constituted an abdication.

230 years ago

Died on this date
Ethan Allen, 51
. U.S. soldier, and politician. Mr. Allen, a native of Connecticut who spent most of his life in Vermont, was a leading figure in the American Revolution. As a soldier, he helped to found the Vermont militia known as the Green Mountain Boys, who aided in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. After spending some time as a prisoner of the British, he returned to Vermont, where he served as a judge. Mr. Allen was extremely anti-Christian in his beliefs, exalting human reason in opposition to divine revelation; his book Reason: the Only Oracle of Man (1785) was a critical and commercial failure. Mr. Allen died of an apparent attack of apoplexy while returning home after visiting his cousin.

225 years ago

Born on this date
Alexander Petrov
. Russian chess player. Mr. Petrov was the first great Russian chess master; he was Russia's best player from the age of 15 in 1809 until his death on April 22, 1867 at the age of 73.

210 years ago

Born on this date
Abraham Lincoln
. 16th President of the United States of America, 1861-1865. Mr. Lincoln, a native of Kentucky, eventually settled in Springfield, Illinois, where he became a lawyer. As a Whig, he represented Sangamon County in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1834-1842, and Illinois' 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1847-1849. When the Whig Party dissolved in the mid-1850s, Mr. Lincoln joined the new Republican Party, and became an outspoken opponent of slavery. He ran a memorable and nationally-publicized campaign against Democratic Party incumbent Stephen A. Douglas in the 1858 U.S. Senate election, but was defeated. Although he lost, Mr. Lincoln attracted national publicity for his positions and oratory, and was the Republican Party's U.S. presidential candidate in 1860, defeating a split Democratic ticket in the presidential election. Seven Southern states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America shortly before Mr. Lincoln took office as President, and the Civil War began five weeks later. Mr. Lincoln committed numerous violations of civil liberties in attempting to preserve the Union, which was his main aim during the Civil War. He fired General-in-Chief George McClellan because of Gen. McClellan's reluctance to fight, and narrowly defeated Gen. McClellan, the Democratic party candidate, in the 1864 presidential election. A month after Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated into his second term as President, the Civil War ended with the surrender of Confederate forces on April 9, 1865. Mr. Lincoln wanted the Confederate states restored to the Union without vindictiveness, but he was unable to oversee this, because he was shot by actor John Wilkes Booth while attending a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington on April 14, 1865, and died the next morning at the age of 56. A 1983 poll of American historians ranked Mr. Lincoln as the greatest of U.S. presidents, but that may say more about the ideological leaning of the academy than it does about the merits of Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln still ranked #1 in a 2009 survey. Historian Thomas DiLorenzo has a considerably more negative opinion of "Honest Abe."

Charles Darwin. U.K. naturalist. Mr. Darwin was best known for his books On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1859) and The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871, in which he proposed that all species in life have evolved from common ancestors through a process of natural selection, and that man himself had evolved from lower orders of animals. He died on April 19, 1882 at the age of 73, and is now presumably a believer in the biblical account of creation. Mr. Darwin is this blogger's choice as the most influential person of the last 200 years, although his influence has been entirely negative. Mr. Darwin was the spiritual ancestor of Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, Josef Stalin, and Adolf Hitler, and I'm happy to be on the other side.

150 years ago

Born on this date
Kiến Phúc
. Emperor of Vietnam, 1883-1884. Kiến Phúc, the nephew-turned adopted son of Emperor Tự Đức, was hastily installed as Emperor on December 2, 1883, following the regicide of Emperor Hiệp Hoà. Emperor Kiến Phúc suffered from poor health and died on July 31, 1884 at the age of 15, after just eight months on the throne. His death sparked rumours that he had been poisoned by his adoptive mother. Kiến Phúc was succeeded as Emperor by Hàm Nghi.

125 years ago

Born on this date
Valentín Canalizo
. President of Mexico, 1843–1844, September-December 1844. General Canalizo, a Conservative, originally fought against insurgents, but later swore allegiance to independent Mexico, fighting against Liberals and serving as military governor of the states of Oaxaca and México during the 1830s. He also served at various times as Mayor of Cuernavaca, Mayor of Mexico City, and Governor of Pueblo. Gen. Canalizo was named President by Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna in October 1843, and served until June 1844. He returned as President later in the year, from September 21-December 6, but his second term as President was shortened because of conflict with Congress, which opposed Gen. Santa Anna. President Canalizo was taken prisoner by rebellious soldiers on Dec. 6, and the presidency was turned over to José Joaquín de Herrera. After an amnesty and a brief exile, Gen. Canalizo returned to Mexico and served as Minister of War in the cabinet of President Valentín Gómez Farías (1846-1847). Gen. Canalizo served briefly in the Mexican-American War, leading troops to Veracruz, whereupon Gen. Santa Anna took over leadership of the troops. Gen. Canalizo disagreed with Gen. Santa Anna on war strategy, and refused any further involvement in the war. He died of pneumonia in Mexico City on February 20, 1850, eight days after his 56th birthday.

Died on this date
Hans von Bülow, 64
. German musician, composer, and conductor. Mr. Bülow as both pianist and conductor, helped to popularize the works of composers such as Richard Wagner, Johannes Brahms, and Franz Liszt. He was one of the first virtuoso conductors, working in that capacity from 1850-1893. Mr. Bülow died after several years of failing health.

Anarchist Émile Henry hurled a bomb into the Cafe Terminus in Paris, killing one person and wounding 20.

110 years ago

Born on this date
Sigmund Rascher
. German physician. Dr. Rascher was a member of the SS who conducted inhumane medical experiments at Dachau concentration camp during World War II. When a claim that his wife had become pregnant after the age of 48 was proven false, SS leader Heinrich Himmler felt betrayed, and had Dr. Rascher and his wife imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp. When Buchenwald was evacuated in April 1945, Dr. Rascher was moved with other prisoners to Dachau, where he was executed by firing squad at the age of 36 on April 26, three days before the camp was liberated by Allied forces.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in New York.

New Zealand's worst maritime disaster of the 20th century took place when 75 people died after the ferry SS Penguin struck a rock in Wellington Harbour and sank.

100 years ago

Born on this date
Forrest Tucker
. U.S. actor. Mr. Tucker appeared in numerous movies--often Westerns and war movies--and television programs. He played Harold Hill in the national production of The Music Man in the 1950s, but was perhaps best known for playing Sergeant Morgan O'Rourke in the television comedy series F Troop (1965-1967). Mr. Tucker died of throat cancer on October 25, 1986 at the age of 67.

90 years ago

Died on this date
Lillie Langtry, 75
. U.K.-born actress. Mrs. Langtry, nicknamed "The Jersey Lily," was one of the first modern celebritites. She appeared in numerous plays from 1881-1917, and was one of the first famous people to endorse commercial products. Mrs. Langtry was known for her numerous extramarital affairs, most notoriously with the future King Edward VII from 1877-1880. She became an American citizen in 1897, died in Monaco, and was buried in Jersey.

80 years ago

World Championships @ Basel, Switzerland
Final round
Canada (3-0) 4 U.S.A. (2-1) 0
Czechoslovakia (0-2-1) 0 Switzerland (0-2-1) 0 (3 OT)

The Trail Smoke Eaters, representing Canada, clinched the gold medal with their shutout of the United States. Czechoslovakia and Switzerland agreed to play each other again on March 5 to decide the bronze medal and the European championship.

75 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard): My Heart Tells Me (Should I Believe My Heart?)--Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra with Eugenie Baird (Best Seller--3rd week at #1); Shoo-Shoo Baby--The Andrews Sisters with Vic Schoen and his Orchestra (Jukebox--5th week at #1)

Dispatches from Leningrad reported that more than 20% of the city's buildings had been destroyed and many more heavily damaged during the 27-month siege by German forces. U.S. forces occupied Rooke (Umbol) Island in the middle of the Vitiaz Strait between New Britain and New Guinea.

Politics and government
The U.S.S.R. government declared that a National Council representing all Polish political groups had been established inside Poland by the Union of Polish Patriots.

The Bolivian government announced a decree expropriating all Axis-owned firms.

70 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Kent Music Report): Buttons and Bows--Dinah Shore and the Happy Valley Boys; Gene Autry (6th week at #1)

#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard) (Best Seller): A Little Bird Told Me--Evelyn Knight and the Stardusters (4th week at #1)

U.S.A. Top 10 (Cash Box)
1 A Little Bird Told Me--Evelyn Knight and the Stardusters (2nd week at #1)
--Blue Lu Barker
--Paula Watson
2 Buttons and Bows--Dinah Shore and the Happy Valley Boys
--The Dinning Sisters
3 Far Away Places--Bing Crosby
--Margaret Whiting and the Crew Chiefs
--Perry Como
4 On a Slow Boat to China--Kay Kyser Orchestra
--Freddy Martin and his Orchestra
--Benny Goodman and his Orchestra
5 Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly)--Sammy Kaye and his "Swing and Sway" Orchestra
--Dinah Shore
6 Powder Your Face with Sunshine (Smile! Smile! Smile!)--Evelyn Knight and the Stardusters
--Sammy Kaye and his "Swing and Sway" Orchestra
7 My Darling, My Darling--Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae with the Starlighters
--Doris Day and Buddy Clark
8 You were Only Fooling (While I was Falling in Love)--Blue Barron and his Orchestra
--The Ink Spots
--Kay Starr
9 I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm--Les Brown and his Orchestra
--The Mills Brothers
10 The Pussy Cat Song (Nyow! Nyot Nyow!)--Patty Andrews and Bob Crosby
--Perry Como with the Fontane Sisters

Singles entering the chart were the version of I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm by the Mills Brothers; Cruising Down the River, with versions by Blue Barron and his Orchestra; Russ Morgan and his Orchestra; and Jack Smith and the Clark Sisters (#22); Everywhere You Go by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians (#31); and Clancy Lowered the Boom by Dennis Day (#34). Everywhere You Go was the other side of Red Roses for a Blue Lady (charting at #15 with the version by Vaughn Monroe and his Orchestra).

On the radio
Tales of Fatima, starring Basil Rathbone, on CBS
Tonight's episode: The Twisted Talisman

Escape on CBS
Tonight's episode: The Lost Special, starring Ben Wright

The Lost Special was an adaptation of an Arthur Conan Doyle story that had been performed on Suspense on September 30, 1943, with Orson Welles in the starring role. Ben Wright went on to play Sherlock Holmes in the 1949-50 season of broadcasts on ABC.

The musical Annie Get Your Gun, directed by Joshua Logan, and starring Ethel Merman as the title character, closed at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway in New York after 1,147 performances since 1946.

Died on this date
Hassan al-Banna, 42
. Egyptian educator. Sheikh al-Banna was a schoolteacher who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, calling for the Islamization of all of life, with the Qur'an as the only acceptable constitution. In the late 1940s, Egypt's King Farouk was alarmed by rumours that the Brotherhood was plotting a coup against the monarchy, and Prime Minister Nokrashy Pasha outlawed the organization in December 1948. Sheikh al-Banna and his brother-in-law Abdul Karim Mansur were assassinated in Cairo while waiting for a taxi after government representative Minister Zaki Ali Pasha failed to show up for a scheduled meeting. King Farouk and his Iron Guard were accused of being behind the assassination.

The U.S. State Department ordered John Florian, first secretary of the Hungarian legation in Washington, to leave the country, in retaliation for Hungary's expulsion of U.S. diplomatic personnel.

The government of Canada announced the creation of a far northern radar chain, later called the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line.

20 people died in a fire in Quito, following a Radio Quito broadcast based on the H.G. Wells story and Orson Welles radio adaptation The War of the Worlds, depicting a Martian invasion of Ecuador, but without advertising beforehand that the broadcast was fiction. The Radio Quito studios were located in the Comercio building, owned by the newspaper El Comercio. Thousands of people had filled the streets in panic, and when they found out the broadcast was fictitious, some got angry and threw gasoline-soaked copies of the newspaper into the Comercio building. Firefighters were late getting to the scene because they were on their way to Cotocallao to meet the supposed Martian invasion. Dozens of people were trapped on the third floor, and some were able to jump out. In addition to the 20 deaths, at least a dozen people were injured, and the riot caused $350,000 in damage.

Economics and finance
Switzerland and the Benelux Customs Union signed an agreement in Brussels for mutual reduction of customs charges, effective March 1, 1949.

World Championships @ Stockholm
First Round
Group A
Canada (1-0) 47 Denmark (0-1) 0

Group B
Norway (1-0) 2 Belgium (0-1) 0
U.S.A. (1-0) 12 Switzerland (0-1) 5

Group C
Sweden (1-0) 12 Finland (0-1) 1

The Sudbury Wolves, representing Canada, scored 16 goals in the 1st period, 13 in the 2nd, and 18 in the 3rd to rout Denmark in what remains the most lopsided game in world championship history to date.

60 years ago

Died on this date
Charlie Daly, 78
. U.S. military officer and football coach. Colonel Daly played quarterback at Harvard University (1898-1900) and the United States Military Academy (1901-1902), serving in the Army (1905-1906) and then as Boston's fire commissioner (1906-1912). He served again in the Army from 1913-1933, rising to the rank of colonel, and retiring a year after suffering a heart attack. Col. Daly coached the USMA football team from 1913-1916 and 1919-1922, compiling a record of 58-13-3, leading the Cadets to national championships in 1914 and 1916, and coaching future military leader such as Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, Joseph Stilwell, Matthew Ridgway, James Van Fleet, and George S. Patton. Col. Daly founded the American Football Coaches Association in 1921, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 as a player.

George Antheil, 58. U.S. composer and journalist. "The Bad Boy of Music," Mr. Antheil was best known for his avant-garde Ballet Mecanique. The premiere of that work in 1927, and the promotion that preceded the concert, alienated Mr. Antheil's audience, and he didn't regain his popularity until the 1940s. Between periods of musical prosperity and popularity, Mr. Antheil wrote for various magazines and later served as a war correspondent. He died of a heart attack.

The U.S.S.R. Foreign Ministry broke off talks with Iran on proposed non-aggression and economic aid pacts.

The Cuban government asked the Domincan Republic to arrest former Cuban President Fulgencio Batista as a "criminal" and fugitive from justice.

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.K. (Record Retailer): (If Paradise Is) Half as Nice--Amen Corner

Australia's top 10 (Go-Set)
1 Lily the Pink--The Scaffold
2 Eloise--Barry Ryan
3 Going Up the Country--Canned Heat
4 I Started a Joke/Kilburn Towers--The Bee Gees
5 Son-of-a Preacher Man--Dusty Springfield
6 Hey Jude/Revolution--The Beatles
7 Build Me Up Buttercup--The Foundations
8 Scarborough Fair--Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66
9 Star Crossed Lovers--Neil Sedaka
10 Edge of Reality/If I Can Dream--Elvis Presley

Singles entering the chart were Lily the Pink/Mrs. Cardinal's Board House by the Irish Rovers (#20); Fox on the Run by Manfred Mann (#23); and One Times Two Times Three Times Four by Zoot (#36).

Politics and government
India's governing Indian National Congress Party suffered a stunning setback in midterm elections in West Bengal, the location of most of the country's heavy industry. A 12-party coalition dominated by Communists defeated Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's party just as it was beginning to celebrate a comeback in other states.

A protest of law students at Howard University began, two weeks after medical school freshmen had begun boycotting anatomy courses to protest the ouster of the department chairman.

40 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Kent Music Report): C'mon Aussie C'mon--The Mojo Singers

#1 single in Japan (Oricon Singles Chart): Champion--Alice (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): Catch the Cat--Cherry Laine

Died on this date
Jean Renoir, 84
. French-born film director. Mr. Renoir, a son of artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, directed more than 40 movies from the 1920s through the 1960s, but had his greatest success in the 1930s with films such as La Grande illusion (1937) and La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game) (1939). He fled to the United States after the German occupation of France in 1940 and became an American citizen several years later, but his Hollywood movies were less successful than his earlier films. Mr. Renoir died of a heart attack.

A missile fired by Rhodesian guerrillas killed 59 people in an Air Rhodesia plane which was struck and crashed shortly after takeoff from Kariba.

World events
Pro-Ayatollah Khomeini forces seized major military bases in Iran, effectively gaining control of the country after two days of heavy fighting. The Ayatollah broadcast an appeal for an end to violence and a return to order.

Kuwait increased prices by 9.35%.

Doctors in Naples were working on identifying the disease which had been striking infants in the city for the past nine months, as the death toll reached 64, amid fears of an epidemic.

30 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in New Zealand (RIANZ): Angel of Harlem--U2 (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in Switzerland: First Time--Robin Beck

Died on this date
Pat Finucane
. U.K. lawyer. Mr. Finucane, who was known for defending prominent Roman Catholic activists in Northern Ireland, was gunned down at his home in Belfast by two members of the loyalist terrorist group Ulster Freedom Fighters.

Police in Pakistan killed six people who were protesting Salman Rushdie's recently-published novel The Satanic Verses (1988), which was accused of being disrespectful toward the prophet Muhammad.

Edmonton 3 New York Rangers 1

Wayne Gretzky of the Los Angeles Kings set two more NHL records, reaching the 40-goal mark for the 10th straight season, and scoring 3 goals in a game for the 45th time in his 10-year NHL career.

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (ARIA): Give It Up--Cut 'N' Move (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Italy: The Rhythm of the Night--Corona (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): Saturday Night--Whigfield (8th week at #1)

#1 single in Denmark (Nielsen Music Control & IFPI): All for Love--Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting (6th week at #1)

#1 single in Flanders (VRT): La solitudine--Laura Pausini (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in France (SNEP): Foule sentimentale--Alain Souchon

#1 single in the Netherlands (De Nederlandse Top 40): Ik wil niet dat je liegt/Waarheen waarvoor--Paul de Leeuw (5th week at #1)

#1 single in the U.K. (BMRB): Things Can Only Get Better--D: Ream (4th week at #1)

U.S.A. Top 10 (Billboard)
1 The Power of Love--Celine Dion
2 All for Love--Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting
3 Breathe Again--Toni Braxton
4 Hero--Mariah Carey
5 The Sign--Ace of Base
6 Whatta Man--Salt-N-Pepa with En Vogue
7 Getto Jam--Domino
8 Linger--The Cranberries
9 Said I Loved You...But I Lied--Michael Bolton
10 All that She Wants--Ace of Base

Singles entering the chart were It's All Good by M.C. Hammer (#76); I Swear by John Michael Montgomery (#81); A Deeper Love by Aretha Franklin (#86); Krazy by Blackgirl (#91); Big Time Sensuality by Bjork (#94); You Know How We Do It by Ice Cube (#95); and Mother by Danzig (#96). A Deeper Love was from the movie Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993).

#1 single in the U.S.A. (Cash Box): All for Love--Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting (4th week at #1)

Died on this date
Sue Rodriguez, 43
. Canadian activist. Mrs. Rodriguez, a resident of Victoria, British Columbia, was diagnosed with amyotropic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in 1991, and sued the B.C. government for the legal right to assisted suicide, which was an offense in the Criminal Code of Canada punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. On September 30, 1993, the Supreme Court of Canada, in a 5-4 decision, upheld the Criminal Code prohibition on assisted suicide. Svend Robinson, a member of the Canadian House of Commons (NDP--Burnaby-Kingsway), assisted in Mrs. Rodriguez's campaign, and claimed to have been in the hospital room when she committed suicide with the help an anonymous physician. Although assisted suicide remains illegal in Canada, national opinion seems to have shifted in an increasingly pro-death direction in the 20 years since the death of Sue Rodriguez, but no doctor has yet been identified or come forward as the one who helped end her life, which makes this blogger suspect that the "anonymous" physician may be a "nonexistent" physician. The only person who claims to have been in the room with Mrs. Rodriguez is Svend Robinson, and yet he's never been charged with anything in connection with her death.

In Toronto, Rev. Victoria Matthews was consecrated Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Toronto, becoming the first female Bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada.

World events
A group of 100 people walked the 50-kilometre Channel Tunnel for charity, becoming the first humans to walk from France to Britain since the Ice Age.

Four men broke into the National Gallery of Norway and stole Edvard Munch's painting The Scream.

The Winter Olympic Games, featuring 1,884 athletes from 67 countries--including 11 former Soviet republics now competing as independent countries--opened in Lillehammer, Norway in a ceremony celebrating Norse paganism. The U.S. Olympic Committee decided to allow U.S. women's figure skating champion Tonya Harding to compete; she had won the championship in January after defending champion Nancy Kerrigan had been clubbed on the leg in an assault after a practice. The perpetrators of the assault included Ms. Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, who had recently pled guilty to a charge of racketeering for his role in the assault, and had accused Ms. Harding of helping to plan the attack.

Calgary 3 Toronto 2

20 years ago

Politics and government

The impeachment trial of U.S. President Bill Clinton concluded with the President's acquittal on both counts. On Article I, the charge of perjury, the vote was 55-45 against conviction. On Article II, the obstruction of justice charge, the vote was 50-50. A two-thirds majority of 67 was necessary for conviction. All 45 Democratic Senators voted not guilty on both counts. 45 Republicans voted guilty on both counts. Five Republicans--Slade Gorton (Washington); Richard Shelby (Alabama); Ted Stevens (Alaska); Fred Thompson (Tennessee); and John Warner (Virginia)--voted guilty only on Article I. Five more Republicans--John Chafee (Rhode Island); Susan Collins (Maine); Jim Jeffords (Vermont); Olympia Snowe (Maine); and Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania) voted not guilty on both counts. Following the votes, a bipartisan vote, led by Senators Diannne Feinstein (Democrat--California) and Robert Bennett (Republican--Utah), to censure Mr. Clinton, also failed. A 56-43 majority obtained in a procedural vote fell short of the two-thirds needed to overcome parliamentary maneuvering by Phil Gramm (Republican--Texas), who opposed censure as unconstitutional. In a brief statement, President Clinton said he was "profoundly sorry" for his actions and urged the country to move on.

A group of 20 international scientists signed a memorandum in support of British physician Dr. Arnold Pusztai, who warned that genetically modified food may be damaging to health.

10 years ago

Colgan Air Flight 3407, a Bombardier Dash-8 Q 400 en route from Newark, New Jersey to Buffalo, New York, crashed into a house in Clarence Center, New York just before it was scheduled to land at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, killing the house's occupant and all 49 people on board the aircraft.

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